World under-21 championship at Bangalore from Aug. 12

BANGALORE, JULY 20. The Karnataka State Billiards Association (KSBA) will host the 12th World under-21 snooker championship at the KSBA hall here from August 12. It is for the second time that the KSBA is playing host to a similar meet. It conducted the championship in 1991, which saw the English prodigy, Ronnie O` Sullivan, emerging the champion.

Though the meet was allotted to the KSBA sometime ago, the association found it difficult to find a sponsor. Being an under- 21 meet, the liquor and tobacco companies, which are among the major sports sponsors in the country, kept out. Finally, the country's top cueist, Geet Sethi, stepped in. Sethi, who floated a sports management website called Kheladi.com in Mumbai on Thursday, will sponsor the championship, which will be known as the Kheladi.com World under-21 championship.

The organisers have received 59 entries from 22 countries so far and a few more are expected. As the host, India will field eight players. This is to ensure that there is the required quorum, said Mr. S.R. Desai, secretary, KSBA. He pointed out that the last edition of championship, held in Cairo, had fallen short of 13 players.

Indian entries: Rishab Thukral and Manash Chandra (Delhi), Pankaj Advani and Sohail Jairaj (Karnataka), Mahesh Jagdale and Ritesh Shah (Maharashtra), Harit D. Parikh (Gujarat) and Jaswinder Singh (Rajasthan).

The organisers hope to finalise the entries by July 23 and the draw also should be ready by then. The championship carries an overall prize money of 6000 pounds. Rodney Goggins of Ireland and Rolf de Jong of the Netherlands were the winner and runner-up, respectively, at the last championship.

The matches will be played on eight tables in the centrally air conditioned hall of the KSBA which has also put up four practice tables.

During the preliminary round robin stage, the ties will be played on best of seven frames; pre-quarterfinals will be of best of nine frames, quarterfinals of best of 11 frames, semifinals of best of 15 frames, and the final will be played over 21 frames.

The semifinals will be held on August 25 and the final is scheduled for August 26.

Mr. Desai intends to broaden the activities of the KSBA and bring a few more major meets to Bangalore; one such could be the Asian team championship. ``Nothing has been finalised yet and the proposal is at a nascent stage,'' he said.